Bio

Dustin Adams is a composer, performer, educator, and piano tuner from Texas who's musical personality is an amalgamation of a wide variety of influences, from his roots in punk rock to his Classical and Jazz training on piano and percussion, to his expedition into the vast universe of the Hindustani and Carnatic musical traditions of India.

Dustin began playing guitar and drums in punk bands during his teens. He earned a degree in music studying piano and percussion at Amarillo College and worked out his Jazz chops incessantly gigging under the wings of veteran musicians on keys and drum set. He also studied music at The University of North Texas where he developed an interest in the music of India, learning tabla, mridangam, and the art of making a mean cup of chai with master percussionists.

Dustin is an accomplished pianist and drummer who is at home performing everything from solo to big band Jazz, punk, rock, blues, studio work, musical theater, festivals, spacious stages to cramped corners, and just about everything in between.

Adams began playing music at an early age. His first instrument was the cello and he briefly took piano lessons. In high school he picked up the guitar and began playing with other musicians and joined his first band, Mediokra. During this time he started playing on his drummer's set and consequently discovered his love for drums. He traded his guitar amp for his first set of drums and then, along with guitarist Kelly Massey, formed the group Victim From Birth. They went on to play many shows and were a mainstay of Amarillo's underground punk scene for the time they were together. One of Victim From Birth's achievements was to raise four-hundred dollars for the AWARE Program, an AIDS and HIV educational and services provider for the Texas panhandle.

From 1997-2000 Adams studied music at Amarillo College where he took lessons in piano, drum set, and marimba. In addition to the traditional music theory and ear training he was taught in his classes he immersed himself in the study of the jazz idiom with the guidance of Amarillo College professor and saxophonist Dr. Jim Laughlin. Adams began playing drum set professionally with jazz guitarist Jimmy James and pianist E.P. Simmons. He played with a multitude of musicians in Amarillo including: Hugo Loewenstern, Jimmy James, Jim Laughlin, Jim Griffin, Donovan Stokes, and others.

Cabinet Crisis, a punk band Adams played in during the same time with friend and vocalist Chris Oles, had gained a reputation in Amarillo and was the headlining local act at the 2000 Brian Deneke Unity Through Diversity Music Festival where they opened for Mike Watt.

Adams earned his Associate Degree in Music from Amarillo College in 2000, and in January 2001 he moved to Denton, TX to attend the University of North Texas (UNT) where he was accepted as a piano major. During his first semester he played piano in the Nine O' Clock jazz band.

Adams began studying Tabla with Neel Bhaat in 2001 and continued for the next couple of years. He also make Sunday trips for about a year to bansuri musician Nilendu Jani's house to accompany his bansuri class. Tabla is a set of two drums used in the Hindustani Classical Music of North India. In 2002, Adams began playing tabla with sitarist Tom Griffin. They played professionally in Indian restaurants and weddings until Adams moved from the area in 2005.

In Denton, Adam played in the band As Rome Lies Burning with ex-Cabinet Crisis members Casey and Brady Clark along with vocalist Arye Orona. This project culminated in a song that was recorded at the Dallas Sound Lab. The track was engineered by Casey who was enrolled in the recording program at the Dallas Sound Lab. Also in 2003 Adams played with the Garland based post-hardcore band Lady of the Lake and played many shows around Dallas, went on a short tour, and recorded the four song CD entitled I Didn't Hear You Come Inside.

After a brief stint as a biology major Adams resumed his musical studies at UNT focusing on percussion and began studying Carnatic (South Indian) musical theory and solkattu (the rhythmic language of South India) with master South Indian mridangamist and composer Poovalur Srinivasan. Adams studied mridangam, which is a South Indian double-sided drum, with Srinivasan for the next year. Adams had been attending a multitude of Indian music concerts since 2001 and was a member of the ICMC, i.e. The Indian Classical Music Circle of Dallas/Ft. Worth.

Around the end of 2003 Adams left Lady of the Lake to focus on Denton based band Harry Has a Head Like a Ping Pong Ball at the request of bassist Nathan Fenoglio. Adams had been jamming with Fenoglio for a couple of years prior. The trio became a sort of musical experiment in eccentricity with "stop-of-a-dime" stylistic, tempo, rhythmic, and time signature changes. No musical territory was off-limits to Harry Has a Head as they incorporated punk, bluegrass, funk, jazz, metal, progressive rock, as well as other styles. The 4 song CD entitled Post-Apocalyptic Time Travel Core was recorded in 2005 at Foundation Sound.

Adams left Denton and spent the last half of 2005 in Los Angeles, CA and returned to Amarillo in 2006 where he stayed busy performing with The Jim Laughlin Quartet, The Vanguard Jazz Sextet, Patrick Swindell and Pizzazz, Jazz Alley (from Lubbock), The Fakebooks, as well as variety of local and visiting national artists including: Jim Griffin, Donovan Stokes, Jason Berg, Noah Baerman, Mike Vax, Carlos Casso, West Texas State University Faculty, Fred Hamilton.

In 2009 Adams collaborated with drummer Perry Justus and bassist Steven Ronk to form The Fakebooks. They performed as a jazz/funk/punk trio at many events and venues kicking off the June Jazz summer jazz concert series at Amarillo College in 2010, playing often at The 806 coffee shop, regular gigs at Fireslice Pizza and other restaurants and bars, as well as playing the Annual Polk St. Block Party in downtown Amarillo.

Notable performances include the 2007 Brian Deneke Memorial Festival with bassist/composer Donovan Stokes and drummer Perry Justus, playing OrchXtra for the Amarillo Little Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol” as well as playing the trumpet score on a Yamaha DX7 for ALT’s “Kiss of the Spider Woman", a jazz quartet gig at The West Texas State University President’s House with WTAMU music faculty, countless gigs at The Amarillo Club, and many others.

Adams maintained a private teaching studio in Amarillo from 2006-2011 and taught drum set, percussion, piano, guitar/bass, and music theory and jazz improvisation to a wide variety of talented people of all ages.

After successfully relocating to Denver, CO in 2011 to expand his music performance and educational opportunities, in the first six months Adams played over 50 shows with Denver Jazz band Minor Note Orchestra, accompanied Professor Sarah Morelli’s North Indian Music Ensemble at Lamont School of Music/University of Denver on tabla, performed on a sold out performance at Swallow Hill Music School on tabla with guitarist/sitarist Chris “Citrus” Sauthoff (Parliament Funkadelic) as well as a well attended Indian Classical music recital with saxophonist Aakash Mittal.

Dustin teaches music at Swallow Hill Music Association and Avanti Music Academy and works as a piano tuner and technician at Move and Tune Pianos.